Wednesday 05th January 2005

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Margate incur transfer embargo

Struggling Nationwide Conference South club Margate issued the following statement on their official website on their current predicament, writes Stephen McCartney.

"Thanet District Council wrote to the Club on 23 December 2004 confirming that they were not satisfied with our submissions and would therefore move to seek the alternative option outlined in their report (this means that they would move to repossess our site and remove Margate Football Club from their land). The letter then went on to allow us to submit further detail by 04 January 2005, which was also the date the Council returned to business after the holiday.

"The Club responded to the further demands and deadline imposed by the Council and submitted additional information by e-mail on 29 December 2004. Mindful that all business was closed for the holiday and our Team Leader was out of the country, the Development Team did everything they could to meet the Councils demands.

"The further demands from the Council covered issues that we considered had already been fully covered in a number of previous meetings as well as other issues that required analysis of the figures used by the Developers in the business case. Many of the issues raised highlighted the fact that there was no contact between the Councils departments; for example, the letter states that the 11 weeks allowed in our programme for the Planning Department to determine the planning application were not sufficient, whilst our Development Team had met with the Planning Department and already agreed this.

"The letter questions the figures used by our Developer, who is a very substantial Commercial Developer with assets in excess of 350 million pounds. It also raised concerns over the draw down of grant funding, the timing of additional 5 a-side pitches, the effects of the extended groundshare agreement with Ashford Town, the design and build model for the stadium, the rentals used for the commercials and required further information on the company specifically set up to carry out the development, London and Margate Development Ltd.

"We have now been advised that this matter is to be referred back to the Councils Cabinet on 13 January 2005. However, the cabinet meeting of 10 November 2004 approved option A and passed the matter back to Officers to negotiate out the remaining issues allowing the redevelopment to go ahead. Now the Officers are passing it back to Members.

"The continued delays have caused further financial hardships for the Club. All of our re-finance packages had relied on the Club being given the go-ahead by Thanet District Council for the redevelopment.

"The Club has now incurred a transfer embargo, which prevents the Club signing any new players, this relates to unpaid football creditors from last Season and the Club will not be in a position to lift this embargo until funds become available to do so.

"Our Development Partners have confirmed today that they will not desert us and have agreed, in principle, to extend funding to the Club to assist it through its most difficult financial crisis. Those funds will allow the Club to remove the embargo and therefore stabilize trading.

"The Development Company are committed to the long haul with us and we have no intention of giving the Council reason to repossess the site."

Saturday 8th January 2005
Margate v Maidenhead United
Nationwide Conference South
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Ashford Town FC, The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth